Elimate Christmas food waste: National Leftovers Day



Christmas dinner

Australians waste three million tonnes of food each year - worth an estimated $5.2 billion - and 60 per cent of Australians admit wasting more than usual over Christmas.

Credit: Clipart

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With Christmas upon us, Australian shoppers are in a food-buying frenzy - spending around $7.6 billion on food in December alone. Yet a great deal of the items we buy this season will be wasted.

In order to combat the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of food thrown away over the Christmas and New Year period, environmental action group Do Something will launch its inaugural National Leftovers Day this Boxing Day (Saturday December 26).

"On Boxing Day, Australians open their fridges to be confronted by vast amounts of leftover food," said Jon Dee, the group's founder and member of G Magazine's editorial advisory board. "Given that some of us waste up to 20 per cent of the food that we buy, being a little bit careful over Christmas can save us all lots of money."

Indeed, a national poll commissioned by Do Something saw 60 per cent of Australians admit they wasted more food than usual over Christmas, and most are unaware of the environmental impact of this food waste.

"When food waste rots in landfill it produces methane," said Dee. "As a greenhouse gas, methane is 20 times more potent than the carbon pollution that pours out of your car exhaust."

Rather than sending excess food off to this fate, households should aim to use up their Christmas leftover items this Boxing Day, and to make leftovers a regular lunch fare to help save money and the environment.

Christmas staples like ham, turkey, chicken and vegetables are used particularly well in sandwiches, quiches and soups over the holiday period. And any extras can be kept in reusable containers in the freezer for another day.

As well as making the most of leftovers, Australians can also reduce their festive food impact (on the wallet and the Earth) by shopping smarter. Key tips are to draw up a shopping list and stick with it, to avoid 'panic buying' for guests that might turn up but never do, and to prepare the right portions, Do Something advised.

"Our message is that we can all still have a wonderful time and have plenty to eat, but being a bit more careful with our food can really save our wallets and the environment," said Dee.

For Christmas leftover recipes head to